Christina Dugan
February 22, 2017 04:45 PM

David Cassidy wasn’t always estranged from his only daughter, Katie.

In 2009, PEOPLE caught up with the Partridge Family star and the former Melrose Place actress to discuss their unique father-daughter relationship.

Though Katie was raised by her mother — former model Sherry Williams — and her stepfather, Richard Benedon, Cassidy still played an important role in her life.

“Because I didn’t raise her, I didn’t have to parent her,” he said. “I’m always here and totally nonjudgmental.”

“To be able to go to someone I’m genetically linked to, tell them anything and know that they’re not going to judge me — it’s unbelievable,” Katie added. “It’s nice when your dad can be your friend.”

But Cassidy wasn’t just a friend — he was also a strong mentor with great advice.

“Do not work for money,” he told his daughter. “Do not work for fame. Work for the work. And if you get a great role and they offer you nothing, take it.”

And Katie took that advice. “That’s all he’s said, and I’ve taken the advice,” she told PEOPLE.

Krista Kennell/ZUMA

Despite their close relationship seven years years ago, Cassidy — who recently revealed that he has been diagnosed with dementia — confessed that he is no longer in contact with his eldest child.

“I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her,” exclusively tells PEOPLE. “She has a completely different life.”

Although the father-daughter duo had a falling out, he is still impressed with the woman she has become.

“I’m proud of her,” adds Cassidy. “She’s very talented. It’s hard for me to even accept how old she is now, like 30.”

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